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Drifting into the Expansive Belly of USA

August 5, 2010

It was Sunday.

I find myself in a little nondescript Japanese car, nonchalantly drifting out of my beloved country, and gently gliding down highway I-90 towards Pittsburgh, all within a matter of hours. Borders are porous. People are mobile. Everyone is traveling. In the cars passing by, I glimpse at a serendipitous cross-section of humanity, free of associations. We are all on the run.

Then, the radio clicks onto a lonely country station, broadcasting into the vast sky, waiting to be captured. Now there it is, on my dashboard, tentatively whispering into the little bubble of private air. And I listen. Songs with no names drift about. I swallow them with ease.

We keep moving through space, catching lonely tunes along the way, criss-crossing like power lines in the sky. Some day I dream that we light up the same pasture.

It was Sunny.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2010 2:13 AM

    Today, there’s nothing I love more than to watch the expanse of America roll by out the window. The video reminds me both of the pleasure I take from the experience as an adult, and from the “Are we there yet?” impatience with which I greeted it as a child.

    A lovely reflection. I hope you enjoy your travels. Pittsburgh is a city I have not yet experienced.

    Grace: I hope you’re enjoying your NYC trip as well. There’s nothing like summer travels…

  2. August 6, 2010 8:58 PM

    You can make anything beautiful, Grace. My roadtrips to the States never felt like that. I took most of them with my parents, when I was a young teenager. Here’s a sample:

    It was the twenty-seventh day.

    I am alone in the backseat of my parents’ 1978 Monte Carlo, as it bounces down the potholed highways of New York State. No air-conditioning. I drift in and out of my beloved consciousness, my face porous, sweaty. In the cars passing by, I could have glimpsed a serendipitous cross-section of humanity, free of associations, except I’m slouching too low; trying to catch the sputtering gusts of one fan set in the dashboard behind the gear shift. In a fourteen-foot car, that’s far away. Everyone’s stomach is rumbling. We all have the runs.

    Then, the radio clicks onto an oldies station, broadcasting the music of my parents’ dead heroes yet again, and I ask ‘why?’ but they’re enraptured, answering only in hums to Gene Pitney. “Feeling sick,” I tentatively whisper, before producing a little bubble of private air. Then they listen. Scents we won’t name drift about. One follows another with ease.

    The movements continue apace, through oldie tunes my parents play. ‘Rest-stop: Fifty miles’ says the sign going by. “Some day,” I dream. And then I sight a pasture.

    It was the best way.


    • Grace permalink*
      August 7, 2010 2:13 AM

      I tentatively whisper, before producing a little bubble of private air.

      That made me laugh outloud, seriously.

  3. August 7, 2010 2:10 AM

    An etheriel musing if there ever was one.

    Your trip reminds me of the twice a year sojourns that my parents would take with me, at the beginning and end of the school year while I attended college in Virginia. After a certain point in Pennsylvania, once we had moved past the clouds drifting down and over from the Great Lakes, the sky would appear, and the clouds would scatter.

  4. August 8, 2010 4:10 PM

    Yep. Looks like America, parts of it anyway. Sounds vaguely like Brad Paisley.

    I have 4 presets on my FM radio in my car. One Contemporary Christian. One Top 40 hits. 2 Country Music.

    Sounds like you had fun. Where all did you go? More observations on the USA to come?

    Grace: Just Pittsburgh…we’ll see.

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